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Balloon Observer Wing for Review


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#1 JimD

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Posted 23 March 2018 - 06:01 PM

I picked this up at the SOS. I know just enough about Wings to cause myself problems, as Purple Hearts and Helmets are more in my comfort zone. 

For your review and comments.  I especially would like to know:

1. Maker?

2. Estimated year of manufacture?

 

I also picked up a Balloon Pilot Wing that I will post as well for comments. 

Thanks in advance. 

 

Ob1.jpg  

 

   

Ob2.jpg

 

 

Ob3.jpg

 

 

 

 



#2 JimD

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Posted 23 March 2018 - 06:02 PM

Ob4.jpg

 

 

Ob5.jpg

 

 

Ob6.jpg



#3 Patchcollector

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Posted 23 March 2018 - 06:15 PM

I can't speak to it's authenticity,but I like how the balloon is incorporated into the "O".

#4 mghcal

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Posted 23 March 2018 - 06:18 PM

I like it. Then again I've never handled one of these snowflake back Balloon Observers in person. Will see what the experts say. If I came across that wing or the Firmin you posted I'd probably buy them as they have some things that look correct and I don't see anything really off with either one. Firmin wings are not my strong suit tho...



#5 Patchcollector

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Posted 23 March 2018 - 06:25 PM

Looks like an Amcraft pattern

Edited by Patchcollector, 23 March 2018 - 06:25 PM.


#6 rathbonemuseum.com

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Posted 23 March 2018 - 06:26 PM

Unmarked Amcraft snowflake back. Pre-WWII. Its good.

#7 JimD

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Posted 23 March 2018 - 06:43 PM

I do have a Balloon Pilot wing with a similar, if not identical, snowflake reverse marking that I reasonably believe is also a pre-WWII Amcraft, so the opinions expressed so far confirm the authenticity of both this piece and the Pilot badge.

Thank you for your help.

Jim 



#8 LuftStalg1

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 04:44 AM

I have to say the TOP of the balloon is the most exciting part for me.   Some real thought went into that.  It would have been so easy to just make that part of the wing smooth rather then continue the balloon seams.  Like Patchcollector points out, the way the "O" is incorporated "into" the balloon.  Fantastic!!! 



#9 rustywings

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 04:27 PM

I think Rathbone's summation is spot-on!  A nice silver-wash over brass example... 



#10 rathbonemuseum.com

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Posted 01 April 2018 - 01:53 PM

For your reference, Dave Hoover has a similar balloon observer and also a senior balloon pilot on his site. The balloon observer is priced at $700.

 

http://militaryaviat...s.com/wings.htm



#11 5thwingmarty

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Posted 25 August 2018 - 03:04 PM

I know this is an older topic but thought I would chime in on it after recently reviewing the aviation ratings regs I have copies of.  This type of Balloon Observer with the O on the face of the balloon is not a 1930's pre-WWII wing.  This badge was created in 1940 when they added a separate Balloon Pilot rating (which took over the badge without the O) and also added the Senior Balloon Pilot rating.  So balloon wings without the O might be pre-WWII Balloon Observer wings, but those with the O would not be.

 

This is per War Department Circular No. 31, Dated March 23, 1940 which had changes to AR 600-35 for Aviation Badges from the prior revision dated December 31, 1926.  The eight new badges were also illustrated in War Department drawing 4-4-1 dated April 19, 1940.

 

Marty



#12 LuftStalg1

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Posted 25 August 2018 - 04:00 PM

I know this is an older topic but thought I would chime in on it after recently reviewing the aviation ratings regs I have copies of.  This type of Balloon Observer with the O on the face of the balloon is not a 1930's pre-WWII wing.  This badge was created in 1940 when they added a separate Balloon Pilot rating (which took over the badge without the O) and also added the Senior Balloon Pilot rating.  So balloon wings without the O might be pre-WWII Balloon Observer wings, but those with the O would not be.

 

This is per War Department Circular No. 31, Dated March 23, 1940 which had changes to AR 600-35 for Aviation Badges from the prior revision dated December 31, 1926.  The eight new badges were also illustrated in War Department drawing 4-4-1 dated April 19, 1940.

 

Marty

But Marty, wouldn't 1940 be pre WW2 as far as the US is concerned?



#13 pfrost

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Posted 25 August 2018 - 04:43 PM

I suspect the 1930's reference comes from the idea that these types of AMCRAFT starburst pattern wings are frequently described as being from as early as the late 1930s.  But if the wing was authorized in 1940 uniform changes that that would probably give a relatively good time frame.

 

While the USN used lighter than air balloons (and IIRC dirigibles) for convoy duty during WWII, I don't thin the US Army Air Forces had any lighter than air squadrons still around by WWII.

 

It is a neat wing, and right as rain, but maybe not as old as some people think.



#14 5thwingmarty

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Posted 25 August 2018 - 05:05 PM

I don't limit the US's declaration of war as the beginning of the country's involvement in WWII.  The main point was these are not exclusively pre-WWII wings as was being implied by saying they date to the 1930's, and it is more likely they were issued during the war, even after the US officially joined.

 

And I agree this is a great wing and I would love to add an example to my collection.  This is one of four WWII ratings I don't have any example of.



#15 rathbonemuseum.com

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 11:56 AM

Thanks for the citations Marty. Always keeps us more on the history vs. myth side of the story.



#16 5thwingmarty

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 04:11 PM

I'm glad to help bring information to the forum and correct misinformation that gets passed around.  I am curious if any of the sites that have Balloon (with the O) Observer and Senior Balloon Pilot wings for sale will correct their listings or if they will keep calling them 1930's pre-WWII wings.



#17 MAA

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 06:49 AM

Good Information Marty.  I (personally) would still consider this a pre-WWII period badge, but probably a more accurate description might be pre-WWII thru WWII period badge.  Clearly, given your information, 1930s would be an inaccurate description.   Its hard to know truly when Amcraft would have struck that badge given the pattern of wing, but likely pre-1941 in my opinion.   Yours appears to be an excellent example ~ a nice badge.   Just my "2 cents" 




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